Sherni REVIEW: In this Man Vs Wild world, Vidya Balan starrer is a riveting story with smart metaphors
Director: Amit V. Masurkar
Produced By: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Vikram Malhotra, Amit V Masurkar
Bollywood Bubble Rating:
Man Vs Wild and their survival are a subject less explored yet something which is known to all. How do we develop as a nation without disturbing the natural habitat and environment is a question there is no simple answer for. There is no villain here, instead, this is a tussle of many things intertwined. Director Amit V. Masurkar (Newton) has done a marvellous job yet again with the treatment given to Sherni. While dabbling with the complexities of circumstances, Amit is not villainizing a particular character. Sherni is a simple yet riveting story, where Masurkar highlights the growling issue of mutually exclusive survival and rises above sheer tokenism.
Sherni is not your quintessential Bollywood film where the premise often revolves around the protagonist Alone reducing everyone else to mere supporting roles. Here, everyone is a protagonist in their own right. From villagers who want to live a peaceful life, to politicians who want to use animal protection as trophies to lure villagers, Forest Department officials trying their best to save the animals, and of course under the table corruption which often is never spoken about. Sherni walks on a balanced path between conflicts and attempts at finding a solution, even if it takes you nowhere by the end. The idea is to try, and find a middle ground. Set in Madhya Pradesh, Masurkar wants us to have a good look at the conflicts within from the prism of Vidya Vincent (played by Vidya Balan) who was transferred as DFO.
Vidya is a no-nonsense officer, who takes her job seriously. She is seen tackling blatant sexism in office as her clueless Boss Bansal continues to undermine her words. He is seen casually dismissing her suggestions or in one scene, where he asks Noorani (played by Vijay Raaz), to help him find (some medicine) even as Vidya stood in the same room. Amit keeps it subtle but obvious, making a point. Using smart metaphors and sarcasm, writer Aasthu Tiku has done a fairly good job to give you a taste of this semi-conflicted world where no one is entirely black. While sexism is quite the obvious kind, corruption shown has been treated with maturity.
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With Pintu Bhaiyaa (Sharat Saxena), one can see how wildlife is treated as mere props, a means to an end. When Sharat Saxena in a rather inebriated state makes fun of the tiger, it is not pointless. For Pintu, it is about his records and minting money, for Bansal about appeasing the officers, for Nangia (played by Neeraj Kabi) about appeasing the politicians and the vicious circle continues. What makes Vidya Balan starter Sherni different is that all of these serious matters are packed with sufficient humour, sarcasm, and smart metaphors.
The pace of the film seemed a little slow in between but that does not sway you off the subject.
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Vidya Balan impresses as The Forest DFO who is constantly stuck between her attempts to make a point, go beyond what is expected out of her, failing but not giving up. Vijay Raaz, Sharat Saxena, Neeraj Kabi along with others deliver the best of their performances as well. It is refreshing to see Vidya Balan pick up such an unconventional subject yet again, where she is leading the viewers into thinking of ways for mutually exclusive survival. Especially in the times we live in, it is paramount to find the right balance. It is smart commentary, one that will make you ponder for a while.